Aligning Ontario’s Scheme for Identifying Census Divisions with Canada’s

Ontario’s Ministry of Finance regularly updates its population projections for the province; its most recent updates were published in the Spring 2016. These population projections are organized into 4 different datasets:

  • projections for the whole province
  • projections for each census division
  • projections for each Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)
  • projections for each Ministry of Children and Youth Services’ Service Delivery Division (SDD) region

Unfortunately (even inexplicably), Ontario uses a different scheme for identifying Census Divisions from Canada’s. We may use this map:

Ontario 2011 Census Divisions - Statistics Canada

and this map:

MofF - Chart 00

allow us to generate the following table of alignments:

Table 4. Aligning Ontario’s scheme for identifying Census Divisions with Canada’s.
1 20 26 13
2 18 27 47
3 24 28 1
4 21 29 41
5 19 30 34
6 29 31 37
7 22 32 42
8 28 33 40
9 46 34 36
10 25 35 38
11 44 36 39
12 26 37 32
13 14 38 31
14 15 39 57
15 43 40 56
16 16 41 51
17 30 42 48
18 23 43 49
19 6 44 53
20 10 45 52
21 12 46 54
22 9 47 60
23 7 48 59
24 11 49 58
25 2

We will need to make use of this Table of alignments when we come to map the Ministry of Finance’s population projections onto the boundaries of Ontario’s Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).

Disclaimer: This post is my personal work and is not sponsored or endorsed by Youthdale Treatment Centres in any way. This work  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Age Categories and Life Cycle Groupings – Statistics Canada

Policy on standards (revised July 14, 2004)


Statistics Canada aims to ensure that the information it produces provides a consistent and coherent picture of the Canadian economy, society and environment, and that its various datasets can be analyzed together and in combination with information from other sources.

To this end, the Agency pursues three strategic goals:

  1. The use of conceptual frameworks, such as the System of National Accounts, that provide a basis for consolidating statistical information about certain sectors or dimensions of the Canadian scene;
  2. The use of standard names and definitions for populations, statistical units, concepts, variables and classifications in statistical programs;
  3. The use of consistent collection and processing methods for the production of statistical data across surveys.

This Policy deals with the second of these strategic goals. It provides a framework for reviewing, documenting, authorizing, and monitoring the use of standard names and definitions for populations, statistical units, concepts, variables and classifications used in Statistics Canada’s programs. Standards for specific subject-matter areas will be issued from time to time under this Policy as required.


Statistics Canada aims to use consistent names and definitions for populations, statistical units, concepts, variables, and classifications used in its statistical programs. To this end:

  1. Statistical products will be accompanied by, or make explicit reference to, readily accessible documentation on the definitions of populations, statistical units, concepts, variables and classifications used.
  2. Wherever inconsistencies or ambiguities in name or definition are recognized between related statistical units, concepts, variables or classifications, within or across programs, the Agency will work towards the development of a standard for the statistical units, concepts, variables and classifications that harmonize such differences.
  3. Standards and guidelines covering particular subject-matter areas will be issued from time to time and their use will be governed by the provisions of this Policy.
  4. Where departmental standards have been issued, program areas must follow them unless a specific exemption has been obtained under the provisions of this Policy.
  5. Programs should, to the extent possible, collect and retain information at the fundamental or most detailed level of each standard classification in order to provide maximum flexibility in aggregation and facilitate retrospective reclassification as needs change.
  6. When a program uses a population, statistical unit, concept, variable or classification not covered by a departmental standard, or uses a variation of a standard approved as an exemption, it shall use a unique name for the entity to distinguish it from any previously defined standard.
  7. Clients of Statistics Canada’s consultative services should be made aware of and encouraged to conform to the standards and guidelines issued under this Policy.
  8. The Agency will build up a database of names and definitions used in its programs and make this database accessible to users and other players in the statistical system.


This policy applies to disseminated data however collected, derived or assembled, and irrespective of the medium of dissemination or the source of funding. This policy may also be applied to data at the stage of collection and processing at Statistics Canada.

Guidelines for the development and documentation of standards

A. Introduction

These guidelines describe the requirements and give guidance for the development and documentation of standard names and definitions of populations, statistical units, concepts, variables and classifications. Section B defines the terminology; guidelines follow in Section C.

B. Terminology

For purposes of these guidelines the following terms are used.

Population: The set of statistical units to which a dataset refers.

Concept: A general or abstract idea that expresses the social and/or economic phenomenon to be measured.

Statistical unit: The unit of observation or measurement for which data are collected or derived. The following list provides examples of standard statistical units that have been defined.

Census family
Economic family

Variable: A variable consists of two components, a statistical unit and a property. A property is a characteristic or attribute of the statistical unit.

Classification: A classification is a systematic grouping of the values that a variable can take comprising mutually exclusive classes, covering the full set of values, and often providing a hierarchical structure for aggregating data. More than one classification can be used to represent data for a given variable.

Example: The following is an example of the variable: Age of Person.

Concept:  Based on the subjects used by Statistics Canada to organize its statistical products and metadata, the variable Age of Person is listed under the concept of Population and Demography.

Statistical unit and property: The statistical unit and property that define this variable are Person and Age respectively. Person refers to an individual – this is the unit of analysis for most social statistics programmes. Age refers to the age of a person (or subject) of interest at last birthday (or relative to a specified, well-defined reference date).

Classification:  Different classifications can be used to represent data for this variable. These classifications include: Age Categories, Five-year Age Groups; and Age Categories, Life Cycle Groupings.

The standard names and definitions of populations, statistical units, concepts, variables and classifications will be stored in the Integrated Metadatabase (IMDB). In the case of variables, the name stored in the IMDB will include a representation type, in addition to the statistical unit and property. In the age example given here, the full name of the variable in the IMDB would be Category of Age of Person. The representation type Category indicates that it is a categorical variable, which will be represented by a classification of age groups.

C. Guidelines

Each standard should have the following characteristics:

  • describe the concept that the standard addresses when appropriate;
  • identify the statistical unit(s) to which it applies;
  • provide a name and definition of each variable included in the standard;
  • provide the classification(s) to be used in the compilation and dissemination of data on each variable.

The most detailed level of a classification will always be included in a standard. Recommended and optional aggregation structures may also be present.

Concepts shall be described in relation to a framework when possible.

Every variable shall be given a name, in both official languages, which, once given, cannot be used to denote any other variable. Variables shall be defined with explanatory notes in terms of a property and the statistical unit to which it applies. Additionally, in the IMDB, the representation type will be defined.

Every classification shall be given a name, in both official languages, which, once given, cannot be used to denote any other classification. Classifications shall be defined, with exclusions listed and explanatory notes given, where required.

Every class shall be given a name, in both official languages, which, once given, cannot be used to denote any other grouping for the referenced variable within a given “family” of classifications (i.e. a given classification and all its variants). Classes shall be defined, with exclusions listed and explanatory notes given, where required.

The most frequently used populations shall be given a name, in both official languages, which, once given, cannot be used to denote any other population. These populations shall be defined with explanatory notes.

Every statistical unit shall be given a name, in both official languages, which, once given, cannot be used to denote any other statistical unit. Statistical units shall be defined with explanatory notes.

A standard shall be accompanied by a statement of conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards, or a description of the deviations from such a standard and, where possible, a concordance with the referenced standard.

Where a standard replaces an earlier one, a concordance between the old and the new shall be given.

A standard shall include a statement regarding the degree to which its application is compulsory. The different degrees are, in descending order of compulsion:

  • departmental standard: a standard that has been approved by the Policy Committee, and the application of which is therefore compulsory, unless an exemption has been explicitly obtained under the terms of this policy;
  • recommended standard: a standard that has been recognized by the Methods and Standards Committee as a recommended standard, with or without a trial period of a specified duration, after which it may be declared as a departmental standard;
  • program-specific standard: a standard adopted by a statistical program, and which is registered with Standards Division, to ensure consistency in a series over time periods.


Age of person was approved as a departmental standard on May 22, 2007.


Age refers to the age of a person (or subject) of interest at last birthday (or relative to a specified, well-defined reference date).

Person refers to an individual and is the unit of analysis for most social statistics programmes.


Age of person is usually derived. It is usually calculated using the person’s date of birth and the date of interview or other well-defined reference date.

Relation to previous standard

A classification by single years of age has been added. In the classification of five year age groups, the top five categories in the previous classification have been collapsed into one category. These top categories were collapsed to reflect the population numbers in these categories and the reliability of the data in this part of the age range. The classification Age by life cycle groupings, which was part of the previous standard, is no longer recognized as part of the standard for age.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard conforms to the recommendations for censuses contained in the United Nations’ Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2, 2008. The UN recommendations define age as “the interval of time between the date of birth and the date of the census, expressed in completed solar years”. This is equivalent to this standard’s definition of age as “age at last birthday”. In addition, the UN recommends calculating age from date of birth rather than asking it directly. This derivation of age is recognized in this standard as the usual practice. Use of date of birth, as noted in the UN Principles, allows age to be calculated precisely, avoiding rounding by respondents and potential misunderstanding as to whether the age wanted is that of the last birthday, the next birthday or the nearest birthday. Finally, in the suggested census output tables, the UN Principles use five-year age groupings with the same boundaries as those presented in this standard. The only differences from this standard are that the upper category has a lower boundary (typically, “85 and over”) and that sometimes children under age 1 year are reported in a separate category.

The Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing also recommends that information on age be obtained by collecting information on date of birth.

 This classification was replaced by a new departmental standard on May 22, 2007.
 ID  Age Range
10 0-4 years
11 5-9 years
12 10-14 years
13 15-19 years
14 20-24 years
15 25-29 years
16 30-34 years
17 35-39 years
18 40-44 years
19 45-49 years
20 50-54 years
21 55-59 years
22 60-64 years
23 65-69 years
24 70-74 years
25 75-79 years
26 80-84 years
27 85-89 years
28 90-94 years
29 95-99 years
30 100-104 years
31 105-109 years
32 110-114 years
33 115-119 years
34 120-124 years

Age Categories, Life Cycle Groupings

1 Children (00-14 years)
11 00-04 years
110 00-04 years
12 05-09 years
120 05-09 years
13 10-14 years
130 10-14 years
2 Youth (15-24 years)
21 15-19 years
211 15-17 years
212 18-19 years
22 20-24 years
221 20-21 years
222 22-24 years
3 Adults (25-64 years)
31 25-29 years
310 25-29 years
32 30-34 years
320 30-34 years
33 35-39 years
330 35-39 years
34 40-44 years
340 40-44 years
35 45-49 years
350 45-49 years
36 50-54 years
360 50-54 years
37 55-59 years
370 55-59 years
38 60-64 years
380 60-64 years
4 Seniors (65 years and over)
41 65-69 years
410 65-69 years
42 70-74 years
420 70-74 years
43 75-79 years
430 75-79 years
44 80-84 years
440 80-84 years
45 85-89 years
450 85-89 years
46 90 years and over
460 90 years and over

Health Regions in Ontario – Boundaries and Correspondence with Census Geography

This issue describes in detail the health region limits as of December 2015 and their correspondence with the 2011 and 2006 Census geography. Health regions are defined by the provinces and represent administrative areas or regions of interest to health authorities. This product contains correspondence files (linking health regions to census geographic codes) and digital boundary files. User documentation provides an overview of health regions, sources, methods, limitations and product description (file format and layout).

This issue contains the health region limits as of December 2015 and their correspondence with 2011 Census geography.

The boundaries, health region codes and health region names in Ontario have not changed.

Appendices and tables


In recent years there has been an increasing demand for relevant health information at a ‘community’ level. As a result, health regions have become an important geographic unit by which health and health-related data are produced.

Health regions are legislated administrative areas defined by provincial ministries of health. These administrative areas represent geographic areas of responsibility for hospital boards or regional health authorities. Health regions, being provincial administrative areas, are subject to change.

The 2015 Health Regions: Boundaries and Correspondence with Census Geography reflects the boundaries as of December 2015 and provides the geographic linkage to 2011 and 2006 Censuses.


The generic term “health region” applies to a variety of administrative areas across Canada that are defined by provincial ministries of health. To complete the Canadian coverage, each northern territory is represented as health region.

The following table describes the health regions, by province, with reference to the provincial legislation under which these areas have been defined.

Health region code structure

A four digit numeric code is used to uniquely identify health regions. The first two digits represent the province, and the second two digits represent the health region. These codes reflect the same codes used by the provincial ministries of health. For those provinces where a numeric code is not applicable, a two-digit code was assigned. Ontario uses a 4-digit code for public health units. This code was truncated to the last two digits for consistency in the national health region code structure. Since Ontario has two sets of health regions, which do not entirely relate hierarchically, their codes are unique within the province.

The names of the health regions also represent the official names used by the provinces.

See Appendix 1 Health regions in Canada, 2015 (names and codes).

Correspondence files

Production of health region level data requires geographic coding tools. Since census geography does not recognize provincial health region boundaries, a health region-to-census geography correspondence file provides the linkage between health regions and their component census geographic units. These correspondence files use the smallest relevant census geographic unit.

To accommodate various data sources producing health region level data, linkage has been created for both 2011 and 2006 Census geographies. The layout of these correspondence files includes the seven-digit Standard geographic classification (SGC) code. The SGC code uniquely represents census subdivisions (CSD).

Most health regions comprise entire CSDs (see Table 2). However, there are some cases where health regions do not conform to municipalities. The 2006 Census linkage was created at the dissemination area (DA) level and block level for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario (LHINs). Even these smaller geographic areas (DA/blocks) sometimes straddle health region boundaries. In those cases, the entire DA (or block) was assigned, in conjunction with the affected province, to just one health region and therefore represents a ‘best fit’ with census geography.

Other data sources use postal codes to geographically reference data records. These data are first converted to census geographic units using the Statistics Canada postal code conversion file, and then linked to health regions based on the correspondence file.

The dissemination area/block-to-health region (DA/block-to-HR) correspondence files provided in this publication are available in CSV format.

Record layout

The record layout of the files is shown in the following tables.
Variable name Comments
DBUID2011 Uniquely identifies a dissemination block (composed of the 2-digit province or territory unique identifier followed by the 2-digit census division code, the 4-digit dissemination area code and the 2-digit dissemination block code)
CSDUID2011 Uniquely identifies a census subdivision (composed of 2-digit province or territory unique identifier followed by the 2-digit census division code and 3-digit census subdivision code)
HRUID2015 Uniquely identifies a health region (composed of 2-digit province or territory unique identifier followed by the 2-digit health region code)
HRNAME_ENGLISH Health region name, English
HRNAME_FRENCH Health region name, French
DBPOP2011 2011 Census dissemination block population

Health regions and standard geography

For the most part, health regions can be described as groupings of counties (census divisions) or municipalities (census subdivisions). This description holds especially true in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, and Ontario (with minor exceptions in northern Ontario). In the western provinces, health regions are less likely to follow census division or census subdivision boundaries.

The following table provides a count, by province, of census subdivisions that fall in more than one health region.

Table summary
This table displays the results of Census subdivisions linked to more than one health region. The information is grouped by Provinces with splits (appearing as row headers), 2006 Census subdivisions and 2011 Census subdivisions (appearing as column headers).
Provinces with splits 2006 Census subdivisions 2011 Census subdivisions
Nova Scotia – District Health Authorities 1 0
Ontario – Local Health Integration Networks 9 11
Ontario – Public Health Units 1 4
Manitoba 7 6
Saskatchewan 45 46
Alberta 9 6
British Columbia 6 20

Census subdivisions Health region codes Health region names Population % population split in census subdivisions
Ontario – Local Health Integration Network
3519028 3505 Central West 30,476 10.6
3508 Central 257,825 89.4
Subtotal 288,301 100
3520005 3505 Central West 130,193 5
3506 Mississauga Halton 109,344 4.2
3507 Toronto Central 1,149,993 44
3508 Central 631,372 24.1
3509 Central East 594,158 22.7
Subtotal 2,615,060 100
3521005 3505 Central West 39,123 5.5
3506 Mississauga Halton 674,320 94.5
Subtotal 713,443 100
3521024 3505 Central West 59,460 100
3508 Central 0 0
Subtotal 59,460 100
3528052 3502 South West 13,416 21.2
3504 Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant 49,759 78.8
Subtotal 63,175 100
3542004 3502 South West 11,487 93.5
3503 Waterloo Wellington 799 6.5
Subtotal 12,286 100
3542015 3502 South West 6,871 72.2
3512 North Simcoe Muskoka 2,649 27.8
Subtotal 9,520 100
3542045 3502 South West 3,866 59.9
3512 North Simcoe Muskoka 2,587 40.1
Subtotal 6,453 100
3543003 3508 Central 10,564 99.6
3512 North Simcoe Muskoka 39 0.4
Subtotal 10,603 100
3543021 3508 Central 1,063 5.7
3512 North Simcoe Muskoka 17,442 94.3
Subtotal 18,505 100
3560090 3513 North East 0 0
3514 North West 7,031 100
Subtotal 7,031 100

Boundary files

The health region boundaries provided in this product are based on 2011 Census geographic units. The smallest geographic unit available has been used as the building block to define health regions. In general, the legislated limits respect these units, but they do not respect DAs or blocks once the legislated boundaries are digitized. In all provinces except British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario (LHINs), the dissemination area was used to define health regions. However, in several instances, the actual physical legal limits split DAs. In the Prairie provinces and B.C. the dissemination block (DB) was used to improve the accuracy of these boundaries. Even with this, the physical legal boundaries do not always reflect the legislated limits recognized by the provinces thus creating many instances of split dissemination blocks.

The limits that did not respect STC geometry (the splits) were digitized by utilizing maps, spatial layers and/or descriptions supplied by and with the cooperation of the authority for each province.

Method used to create health region 2015 boundary files

All processes and procedures to update the digital boundary files were carried out using ESRI Inc.® ArcGIS TM 10.2.2, Safe Software Inc. FME ® Desktop 2015, Pitney Bowes Software Inc.® MapInfo 11.5.1, Microsoft ® Access 2007, and Microsoft ® Excel 2007.

Boundary file formats

All digital health region boundaries in this publication are available in two formats: An ESRI ® shapefile format and MapInfo® table format. We’ll be using the ESRI shapefile, which is supplied in a zip file. This file expands to provide four files of different extensions which are: (DBF, SHP, PRJ and SHX). Boundary files are provided as a national boundary file and are provided as individual provincial boundary files.

Projection information

The disseminated projection coordinate system of the health region boundary files is as follows:

  • Lambert Conformal Conic
  • Datum = NAD83
  • Units = meters
  • Spheroid = GRS 1980
  • Parameters:
    • 1st standard parallel: 49° 00′ 00″
    • 2nd standard parallel: 77° 00′ 00”
    • Central Meridian: -91° 52′ 00”
    • Latitude of Projection Origin: 63° 23′ 26.43”
    • False Easting: 6200000
    • False Northing: 3000000

“Health region” refers to administrative areas defined by the provincial ministries of health.

See Table 6 Health regions in Canada – by province and territory
See Map 14 Health Regions and Peer Groups in Canada, 2015

Health region boundary changes

See the following tables for history of changes since 2000:

Health region peer groups

In order to effectively compare health regions with similar socio–economic characteristics, health regions have been grouped into ‘peer groups’. Statistics Canada used a statistical method to achieve maximum statistical differentiation between health regions. Twenty–four variables were chosen to cover as many of the social and economic determinants of health as possible, using data collected at the health region level mostly from the Census of Canada. Concepts covered include:

  • basic demographics (for example, population change and demographic structure),
  • living conditions (for example, socio-economic characteristics, housing, and income inequality), and
  • working conditions (for example, labour market conditions).

Peer groups based on 2015 health region boundaries and 2011 Census of Population and 2011 National Household Survey data are available. There are currently nine peer groups identified by letters A through I.  There have been no changes made to peer group assignments since 2014.

See Table 8 Health regions 2015 by peer group
See Table 9 Summary table of peer groups and principal characteristics

A more detailed discussion on the rationale and methods involved in the development of peer groups is available in Health Region (2014) Peer Groups – Working paper.

Health region boundary files

Digital boundary files reflecting health region limits in effect as of December 2015.

Boundary files (documentation)



Correspondence files

Code-to-code correspondence between health regions and 2011 and 2006 Census geographic units.

Correspondence files (documentation)


Health region–to–2011 Census dissemination blocks for Ontario available in CSV format via a zipped file.

2011 Comprehensive Correspondence files Download

All Canada Correspondence files Download


Health region–to–2006 Census dissemination area (blocks for Ontario in CSV format).

2006 Comprehensive Correspondence files Download

All Canada Correspondence files Download

Reference maps

Health regions and peer groups

This series of reference maps show the boundaries, names and codes of health regions and peer groups in Canada, by province.

About the maps

2014 reference maps
2013 reference maps
2011 reference maps (from issue 2011001 of 82-583-X)
2007 reference maps (from issue 2010001 of 82-583-X)